Street markets 101

Ever since Hong Kong I’ve been fascinated by street markets. The noise, the color, the smells, street markets are just something else. I’m not much of a haggler. I enjoy other people doing it but in general I’m either thinking I’m getting the best deal ever and the seller is super honest with me or I’m thinking I’m getting super ripped off and get stuck on a ridiculously low price. A on the other hand absolutely loves the wheeling and dealing. For A it’s not a matter of how much he overspend (because he’s most certain he always does) but rather that he gets the price down at least a little bit. The Greek in him gets offended if market vendors don’t humor him. He’d rather argue twenty minutes over a price than a street vendor just accepting his offer or the vendor just declining without giving him a counter price.

So we found ourselves in a market where I instantly made a deep connection with a super soft plush whale. I didn’t intend on buying the whale or anything for that matter, nor did I even consider haggling over it, I just thought the whale looked cute and was the softest thing I ever touched (and I have a collection of soft things from clothing to blankets to pillows to a few stuffed animals, I know my way around soft squishy (in every day life useless) things). Of course, the vendor knew they had me at whale but A put his game face on…

I knew enough to not interfere in these deals, but the vendor already knew I wasn’t letting go of my whale. After a few minutes of haggling I held in my hands “Sings, the whale” and “Bundle” (for obvious reasons) and we all happily skipped out of the market.

Sings, the whale and bundle, his companion
Sings, the whale and Bundle, his companion

A couple vendors down, A stopped me in my tracks and said, “we need to talk about your haggling skills”. The conversation proceeded into me having to give A a sign when I wanted something (awkwardly squeaking), me not showing any emotion when it comes to said product (I can’t even watch a single TV spot without instantly having an emotional reaction to the product, the people or whatever they’re selling) and learning how to bundle effectively (unless it’s chocolate or I’m freezing cold I have never needed to bundle, ever).

Needless to say, that I failed miserably every single time, so much so, that even a food vendor (who usually don’t haggle) upsold me on some mango juice. I guess, there’s still quite a bit I have to learn, when it comes to haggling and dealing but if you haven’t seen this side of Singapore, you’re missing out! It’s much more than just “going shopping”, it’s an experience engaging all your senses (try to avoid the Durian stands, for obvious reasons ;)). And although I will steer clear from the soft aisle, because I’d walk out looking like a plush animal and spending half my fortune there, I cannot wait to go to the markets again with my game face on.

Game face on!
Game face on!

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